Sorting paragraphs in Word

Sorting paragraphs in Word

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If you frequently restructure your documents and prefer not to cut and paste many paragraphs around, there's a simpler way: Use the Sort feature in Microsoft Word. Normally you'd use Sort to alphabetize a list of names or products, but it can also help you with larger structural changes.

First, number your paragraphs in the order you want them to be. Let's say I wrote an article that ended with the conclusion, but I wanted to move it to the top to act as an executive summary and relocate the second part of my Introduction to the end. I would number the paragraphs like so:

2 Introduction - Paragraph 1

6 Introduction - Paragraph 2

3 Body - Paragraph 1

4 Body - Paragraph 2

5 Body - Paragraph 3

1 Conclusion

Now simply select the paragraphs you want to reorder and then click the Sort button in the Paragraph section on the Home tab:

Sort button

Now make sure your sort is Ascending by Text (NOT Number!):

Sort Text

Click OK to sort and then review the new order :

1 Conclusion

2 Introduction - Paragraph 1

3 Body - Paragraph 1

4 Body - Paragraph 2

5 Body - Paragraph 3

6 Introduction - Paragraph 2

You can always renumber, or use Undo if you want to reset and try again. When you're happy with the structure, simply remove the numbers.

Suzanne

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